One of the accompanying features of Zionism every since Theodore Herzl, a"h, got the idea in his head, has been pessimism. At every step along the way from the First Zionist Conference to modern day events people have held negative attitudes towards the success of the Jewish rebirth in Israel.
For some it was religious. For some it was political. For some it was practical cynicism but there has never been a dearth of people willing to either say that Israel would never be established, never survive its first few years and never endure into the future.
Despite that Israel has flourished in ways its most optimistic founders could not have imagined. From the humble beginnings of the First Aliyah the country has become a minor world power, a centre of agriculture and technology and, most importantly, the reborn centre of the Torah world with countless yeshivos and other Torah institutions.
Once upon a time we were told that Israel would flounder demographically because of the high Arab birthrate. Somehow that hasn't happened with the population proportions not budging significantly in the last 30 years. We were told that Israel would drink the Kinneret dry. Instead the country is the world leader in desalination and the Kinneret, although not as full as it should be, still maintains its presence.
That doesn't stop naysayers from continues to write eulogies for Israel, chas v'shalom. The latest eloquent attempt can be found on TabletMag and, while well written, is just an updated version of the dirges we've been reading for years. It lists all the well-known threats to Israel's continuity, both internal and external and seems to conclude that it's only a matter of time before one, or a combination of those factors will cause the State to collapse, chalilah.
This is, of course, bunk. Israel isn't going anywhere. And why am I so sure?
Because along with pessimism, another accompanying feature of Zionism since its founding has been incompetence. Consider all the mistakes various Zionist leaders made over the last century or so and you'd be amazed the State ever came into existence or endured. The visionary founder of the movement was fine with the Jewish national homeland being put in Uganda and having German as the national language. The religious element of the Jewish community in Europe created a reaction in the secular group that led to anti-Torah hostility and a plan to build a Jewish state free of Judaism. This sounds incredible today but that was the guiding ethos of secular Zionism. Look at political events, the early division of the new Yishuv into mutually antagonistic groups even as the British and Arabs stood at the gates waiting to end the whole Jewish National Homeland project. Even heard of the Altalena?
Even now when one considers the corruption endemic in Israel's elite and how the government is dominated by parties with no interest beyond narrow parochial ones, it is to wonder how the country functions at all.
What is the secret then? In one word: God.
Despite the insistence of the finest Hungarian rebbes of the last century and a half, it seems God is interested in Jewish rebirth in Israel. History was arranged to ensure that the Three Oaths (even though they're aggada, not halacha) would be upkept, empires rose and fell based on their ability to push the objective forward and despite the various attempts of all our enemies as well as our own to push the project into the crapper, Israel survives and thrives. Just read The Secret War Against the Jews and you'll see that the Purim story has nothing on what went on behind the scenes from the earliest days of Zionism until now.
By no reasonable standard should David Ben Gurion, a"h, have been able to stand up on 5 Iyyar and proclaim the State's independence. By no reasonable standard should a fledgling army and accompanying militias been able to drive back and actually take territory from larger, better armed forces. By no reasonable standard should a country with minimal natural resources and almost no industrial base have developed into the source of everyone's computing and cell phone experience. Yet it happened. Why? We must say that it's because of the Master of the Universe.
If this is so then the author of this latest article should hold his tears back. Is Iran threatening us? So did Nasser, y"sh, and he was in a much better position to harm us than the mullahs of Tehran. Are there growing tensions between the religious and secular populations? That is hardly news.
Israel will endure not because we want it to, not because it's a good idea, not because world Jewry needs a lifeboat and not because of its leaders and elite but because God wants a Jewish rebirth in Israel and He will not be gainsaid. Our task is to recognize His hand is history and reach up to grab it through emunah and shemiras mitzvos in the building and maintaining of the land He demands that we have.